If you have been seriously injured in an accident, you only have a limited amount of time to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. As in every other state, Maryland imposes statutes of limitations when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. A statute of limitations is a law that acts as a deadline for filing a lawsuit. The deadlines for filing lawsuits depend on the type of lawsuit the plaintiff is filing, but there are some common aspects of statutes of limitations.
The Statute of Limitations is Typically Three Years
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the injury. Suppose you were injured in a car accident on January 1st, 2020. You have until January 1st, 2023, to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit by this deadline, the court will bar you from bringing a lawsuit. In other words, you will lose your ability to file a lawsuit against the defendant who caused your injuries. Most personal injury accidents have a three-year statute of limitations, including the following types of accidents:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability cases
- Products liability cases
- Slip and fall accidents
Maryland’s “Discovery Rule” Exception
Maryland does have an exception to the general three-year rule statute of limitations. In product liability cases, medical malpractice, and fraud cases, you may have additional time to file a lawsuit. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin until you notice the wrongful act. Additionally, when a minor or incapacitated individual becomes injured, the statute of limitations stops until the child reaches the age of majority or the incompetency ends.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Start Running?
In Maryland, the statute of limitations starts to run on accrual. Accrual happens when a person knows or should have known that they have a legal compensation claim. For example, if you are involved in a car accident, you know that you have a legal claim on the car accident date. When the victim is not aware that they suffered an injury or harm, the statute of limitations typically does not start running until the victim notices the harm or fraud.
The Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims
In workers’ compensation claims, the injured worker may have less time to bring a lawsuit, depending on the nature of the case. Under Maryland workers’ compensation laws, there is a shorter statute of limitations of two years. The injured employee must comply with additional requirements such as notifying his or her employer promptly after the accident. If a worker experiences an occupational illness due to their work, the worker must bring a claim within two years of the onset of the worker’s occupational disease.
Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor’s negligence causes a patient to become injured. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is somewhat different than in other types of personal injury cases. In most cases, the statute of limitations is three years from the date the patient discovers his or her injury or five years from the date the injury occurred, whichever happened earlier.
Many victims of medical malpractice do not discover their injury right away. That is why medical malpractice victims receive up to two years more time than other personal injury victims to file a personal injury lawsuit. As with other types of lawsuits, if you attempt to file your lawsuit after the deadline has passed, your case will be dismissed, and you will not be able to recover compensation.
Exceptions to Maryland’s Statute of Limitation Rule
As we have discussed, most personal injury victims have three years from the date they become injured to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, certain exceptions allow a longer statute of limitations for victims. It is wise to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer instead of relying on an extended statute of limitations. Your lawyer will be able to advise you about which statute of limitations applies to your case and will begin investigating your case as soon as possible. Your lawyer will also be able to tell you if one of the following exceptions applies to your case:
- If you were mentally disabled when the accident caused your injury, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until your disability ends. When you are declared legally competent, the statute of limitations will start to run. If you are never declared legally competent, the statute of limitation will never begin to run, and you can file a lawsuit at any time.
- If you were under the age of 18 when you became injured, the statute of limitations would not start until you turn 18.
- Suppose the defendant whose negligence or intentional actions caused your injury has concealed his or her liability. In that case, you may not discover the negligence until after the statute of limitations has run. In this situation, the statute of limitations will not start until you discover or should have reasonably discovered the defendant’s negligence by exercising due diligence.
About Brian Bishop
Brian Bishop started the Bishop Law Group in October 2018. Mr. Bishop is an active member of Maryland Association of Justice, The American Association of Justice, The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. Mr. Bishop has received a nationally ranked Top 40 Under 40 Attorney award since 2017. Mr. Bishop has also been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named Brian Bishop as one of The 10 Best Attorneys for Outstanding Client Services.